China is ramping up efforts to improve business environments and stimulate market vitality while promoting innovation amid downward pressure to maintain economic growth.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planning agency, on Sunday issued guidelines that provide added leeway for officials to conduct necessary market reforms for businesses and ensure equal treatment for market entities.
"[The guidelines are aimed at] accelerating the creation of a stable, fair, transparent and predictable business environment and stimulate market vitality and the creative power of the whole society," the NDRC said in a separate statement with the guidelines.
The guidelines were posted on the NDRC's website and are open for public comments.
To ensure local officials will follow through on long-stated market reforms, the guidelines said officials would be cleared of any wrongdoing in promoting the reforms if it was determined their actions were aimed at improving business environments and they did not break any laws or regulations.
As analysts have already mentioned, the move is significant as one of the biggest challenges for China to implement reform plans is inaction from local officials unwilling to act due to concerns with violating regulations.
To ensure reform plans are carried out by local officials, the guidelines said the country will establish a mechanism to monitor their progress and urged local governments to refrain from reporting false information.
In supporting companies directly, the guidelines said market entities will be treated equally in terms of market access, and access to financial, land, and other resources, and also to government bids and procurement deals.
To safeguard company rights, the guidelines have banned government intervention by agencies or individuals engaged in legal business operations. For company assets, the guidelines proposed it would take light administrative measures against enterprises who engaged in "normal violations" to reduce maximum operational impact.
Intellectual property rights protection (IPR) will also be strengthened and infringements will be punished severely. Small and medium companies will also enjoy increased IPR protection.
The guidelines arrive as the Chinese economy continues to face downward pressure due to diminishing external conditions marked by a trade war with the US and domestic cyclical pressure. China's GDP growth is expected to hit its weakest pace in decades.
As part of broad efforts to cope with downward pressure, Chinese policymakers vowed to improve market environment to unleash vitality and boost high-quality growth.